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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 16 July, 2002, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
Assembly confirms school closures
Moylegrove and Dinas protesters
Protests against rural school closure have failed
The Welsh Assembly has confirmed the closure of two small Welsh-medium primary schools in Pembrokeshire.

Welsh Education Minister Jane Davidson has turned down an appeal from parents to keep open Trewyddel (Molyegrove) and Dinas schools - both of which have fewer than 30 pupils.

Ysgol Dinas
Dinas will close in December

Pembrokeshire council said they were too expensive to run but parents said closing small village schools would have a devastating effect on the community.

The decision to close both schools, near Fishguard, had been recommended by the council's education committee and endorsed by the full council.

Dinas with 15 pupils will close before Christmas.

It is the former school of Pembrokeshire's director of education, Gerson Davies.

Trewyddel will close in August 2003.

The campaign to keep Ysgol Trewyddel open has been backed by Preseli AM Richard Edwards, Archbishop of Wales Dr Rowan Williams and BBC journalist John Humphrys.

Baby in school protest
Children in rural areas will have to travel to other schools

Michelle Bartram, chair of governors at Dinas, said she was "totally devastated" by the decision.

She said: "The children have remained positive but will take this personally and feel they have failed.

"We have been treated with the utmost contempt by the education authority.

"The village needs this school and we are not done yet."

Jonathan Guest, vice chair of governors at Ysgol Trewyddel, vowed to carry on.

He said: "We are certainly not giving up the fight and are determined to explore every avenue possible."

Pembrokeshire council says pupil numbers have dwindled to the extent that these schools are too costly to run.

Too small

An Audit Commission report four years ago said Pembrokeshire had 2,800 unfilled places in its schools and could save up to 370,000 per year by cutting its capacity by 2,000 pupil places.

Pembrokeshire council says the closures are part of its rationalisation plan for rural schools in order to create larger 'area' schools.

Earlier this month, one of Wales' biggest teaching unions said more than 200 schools should close - because they were too tiny to teach the National Curriculum properly.

NASUWT Cymru has suggested schools with fewer than 50 pupils are too small to cope with teaching demands and fail to offer a full educational experience to pupils.


Where I Live, South West Wales
See also:

27 Sep 01 | Wales
09 May 00 | Education
15 Jul 99 | Special Report
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